1000 Feathers

1000 Feathers’ Newest Team Member


Meet our new intern!

Morgan Roberts is a senior at the University of South Carolina majoring in public relations and minoring in Spanish. She is from Grand Rapids, Michigan, but decided to venture south for college to escape the cold Michigan winters. Morgan has previously interned for both the Palmetto Health Foundation and South Carolina Future Minds but is excited to step out of the nonprofit world and work for 1000 Feathers this semester. An involved member of her campus, Morgan is a member of Sigma Delta Pi Spanish honors fraternity, as well as the collegiate public relations society, PRSSA. She loves her community, volunteering for organizations like Palmetto Health Richland Children’s Hospital and EdVenture’s after-school children’s program. Morgan loves traveling and has been to 20 countries around the world, most recently during a semester-long study abroad in Ireland. She is expected to graduate in May and is looking for public relations jobs along the east coast.

Welcome to the team, Morgan!

3 Tips for Mastering the Media


By: Cayci Banks, Director of Communications

While some people run from a camera, it’s always been in my nature to run towards them...just ask my friends and family. I will be the first person to find the videographer at a wedding, was interviewed by the Today Show team when in NYC on my senior trip (smacking gum in my cap and gown, of course), was the shining star of most of my older brother’s music videos in the 80s (let’s hope those tapes never make it to social media), and always enjoy the opportunity to talk about the nonprofits I have the privilege of working alongside.

This passion I developed at a young age has been a huge part of my career. I spend a great deal of time training nonprofit professionals, CEOs, and future coaches and athletic directors for their “close up.” We talk about the importance of media relations, how to prepare for media interviews, what NOT to do, and how to keep their brand in tact…before and after an on-camera appearance. 

 If you ever find yourself preparing for an on-camera interview, here are a few tips to keep in mind. 

  1. Preparation is Key. You should never go on camera without fully understanding the context of the interview, who the interviewer is, what the questions may be, and when the interview will air. Once you have a basic understanding of the interview itself, and 100% believe you are the best person for the interview, now you prepare what you will say. Write down (yes, write them down) 3-5 talking points that you want to get across during your interview. Practice these talking points, over and over again, until you are confident that you can relay these messages to the interviewer without getting flustered. Do you have a colleague or family member who can interview you? Even better. But if no one is around to help you out, just find the closest mirror and interview yourself. You will be surprised at how much you can learn from watching yourself in the mirror. 

  2. Calm Your Nerves. If you are like 99% of your peers, you are going to get nervous going on camera. It’s just human nature. You feel like the situation is out of your control, that the media personality is “out to get you,” and thus put up walls, and for whatever reason, lose all confidence in yourself and your ability to speak. Well, first of all, they aren’t “out to get you;” more often than not, they really just want to help us tell our stories and share important information with their viewers. Look at reporters as allies.

    So, what do we do about those nerves? One of my longtime colleagues gave me the best piece of advice years ago when I was going live on a local channel. He said, “You know more about the topic than anyone else in the room. You are the expert; now show them why you’re the person they called.” Profound, right? No, it’s such a simple thought, but so true! I did know more than anyone else in the room. Nine times out of 10, the reporter is going to love you more if you help guide the conversation. That’s why the talking points in #1 were so important. Know what you want to say, have confidence in yourself, and make the public believe in your expert status.

  3. Appearance Matters. It will be hard for someone to listen to your words if you have already lost credibility due to your appearance or body language. It’s important to dress the part; whatever that means for your industry. Some will need to wear a suit and tie, but that’s not the rule for all of us. The coaches I work with would look silly getting dressed up for an interview. The attire should match the tone of the interview and the topic you are addressing. 

    Along the same lines, the way you portray yourself on screen is close to, if not just as, important as the words you are saying. Sit or stand with confidence. Don’t slouch, don’t cross your arms, don’t turn away from the interviewer. All of these movements have unintentional meanings, such as disinterest and lack of respect. Make sure you aren’t taking anything away from the words you are speaking. Don’t distract the viewer with needless hand gestures, flashy jewelry, or negative body language so that it makes it hard for them to focus on anything else.

And as my mom told me after returning from New York City as a naïve, 17-year-old, NEVER CHEW GUM on camera! 

Could your C-suite or board room benefit from media training? If so, contact our team at 1000 Feathers to schedule an in-person or virtual meeting.  

Isaiah Nelson Joins Firm as Mobilization Strategist

The team at 1000 Feathers is pleased to announce the hire of Isaiah Nelson as Mobilization Strategist. Isaiah, a 2012 graduate of the College of Charleston Honors College and former student body president of the College, has been engaged on electoral and mobilization projects over the last four years. A former intern for the Office of Public Engagement in the White House and a veteran of multimillion dollar Congressional, Mayoral and Gubernatorial campaigns in multiple states, Isaiah will work with our clients as we look to make meaningful impacts in communities throughout the country.

"As our firm continues to grow, we're always on the lookout for top talent that can add to our service delivery," said Forrest Alton, President of 1000 Feathers. "Isaiah's understanding of policy work, community organizing and mobilization fit a need for us, and we are thrilled to welcome him to the team. He brings great value and experience to a number of existing projects and will add to our menu of services for new clients."

1000 Feathers Launches to Bridge Divide Between Strategy and Vision

With challenges mounting for those in the social service sector and pressure to perform at an all-time high, Forrest Alton and Heather Brandt have launched a new consulting firm, 1000 Feathers, to combat these challenges and assist nonprofits and social service organizations, thus bridging the divide between vision and strategy and leading to meaningful results and community change.

After spending the last 10 years serving as the Chief Executive Officer of the South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, Forrest Alton stepped down earlier this year to focus his energy on launching this new firm. In partnership with his wife, Heather Brandt, Alton has formed a team that understands the importance of strategic thinking, planning and performance, and collectively brings more than 40 years of combined experience in communities – working directly with foundations, nonprofits and government agencies.

"Our main value is to always remain client-centered, to present an approach to problem solving that results in our team working with our clients, not for them,” said Alton, who is serving as the President of the new firm. “Collectively our team has learned a lot about what it takes to create measurable change in communities. Most importantly, we have learned that there’s a big disconnect between the needs of communities, the vision of philanthropists, and the organizational strategies in the social service sector.”

In addition to bringing the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors closer together, 1000 Feathers also seeks to provide aggressive leadership development to help prepare organizations to better handle a changing landscape.

“Projecting out over the next several years, we are beginning to realize the combined impact of retiring baby boomers, changing approaches to funding and philanthropy, and a more crowded than ever nonprofit sector. There’s a need to create a space for more strategic thinking, bigger and bolder visions, and data-driven decision making,” said Brandt. While Brandt will maintain her current positions within the University of South Carolina, she will also serve as the company’s owner and will contribute to all major research projects.

The work of 1000 Feathers is based on the premise that a strong vision combined with thoughtful strategy is the only path to measurable results and real community change. But, what Brandt and Alton have uncovered through their professional careers and service on multiple state and national boards, is that there are a lot of moving parts to the “strategy + vision = results” formula, and often organizations and communities never get to the end results they desire. To create a meaningful experience for their future clients, 1000 Feathers will offer services focused on four key areas: executive consultation and leadership training; strategic thinking and planning; market engagement and communications; and research development and organization expansion.